The day after my master thesis defense at the UT I flew to New York City for a big adventure: I was going to present my research at a big conference (> 800 participants) on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW). During my internship, which I did in the Robots in Groups Lab at Cornell University, I had collected video data of robotic surgery – yes, I put on sterile clothes and took several cameras, GoPros and mics to the operating room and got consent from the surgical team and patient to videotape them. After returning to the UT, I did an ethnographic analysis of the data as part of my Research Topics. In short, I found that surgical robots affect teamwork in ways that make robotic surgery similar to distance collaboration in some respect. After several rounds of review, my paper got accepted (you can read it here). Presenting at the conference was really the cherry on top after months of hard work.


I got to present in the biggest room in a panel on Collaboration in Clinical Contexts, in which other cool research was presented – among others an award-winning paper on how surgeons interact with screens and other imaging systems and how we can design for this.

The conference covered a variety of topics, such as Crowdsourcing, Emotion & Biosensing (some cool stuff on affective computing and BCI) and Presence & Distance (even involving telepresence robots, yay!). I got to celebrate my successful presentation at the conference dinner, which we had at a big science center in Jersey City. Admission to the exhibition was part of it, which gave a bit of a Night at the Museum feel – snakes included!

I was very lucky and got selected to be a Student Volunteer (SV), which means the conference registration fee is waived in exchange of 20 hours of volunteer work.


As an SV, I got to see behind the scenes while e.g. handing out conference badges at the reception desk. Cristina Zaga was our SV chair and made sure everything was running smoothly. Being a SV is a little extra work but really fun and we got to have lunch with famous researchers (like Vanessa, who was also conference chair J) and of course we had an amazing after-party. Before flying home again, I visited Cornell Tech and had coffee with our alumni David Goedicke, who studied Create and HMI before leaving to NYC for his PhD. You can read more about my research in this short summary and an article that the Cornell Chronicle published about it.